According to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to provide their workers with, not only a fair hourly wage or salary, but also with the proper overtime compensation of one and one-half times their normal hourly rate of pay for each hour that they work in excess of forty hours per week. There are certain exceptions to this rule, but the FLSA is very clear about the kinds of employees that can qualify for overtime exemption.
First and foremost, an employee must be paid a salary in order to qualify for overtime. Employees who are paid an hourly wage are ineligible for overtime exemption. The first category of overtime exempt employees is administrative and includes anyone who provides direct support to an executive. The executive category includes any employee whose primary responsibility is to manage other employees who report directly to her. The third and final category is professional and it includes any employee whose job requires a particular education or set of skills.
Employees who fall into any of these categories are eligible for the proper overtime compensation for every hour that they work in excess of forty hours per week. In a recent overtime class action lawsuit, a food preparer at Nature’s Grill, a cafe chain in New York, has alleged that the company knowingly and intentionally violated the FLSA by failing to pay its workers for the overtime hours that they worked.
The named plaintiff, Arturo Sanchez, has filed the overtime class action lawsuit on behalf of all hourly non-exempt employees who have worked at various Nature’s Grill locations. The class includes, but is not limited to, dishwashers, cooks, delivery workers, and all other employees who were not part of a tip-sharing pool. In addition to failing to pay overtime, the lawsuit further alleges that the company failed to properly compensate its employees for “spread of hours”. This is when time spent working and breaks adds up to more than ten hours in a day.
Sanchez worked at two Nature’s Grill locations between November 2011 and July 2013 and he alleges that, for at least one year of that time, he regularly worked 87 hours per week. However, the company allegedly refused to record and pay hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour workweek so Sanchez was never paid for more than half of the hours that he worked.
The FLSA requires employers to maintain accurate records of how many hours employees work, in addition to the wages they are paid. Failure to provide these records is all a plaintiff needs to prove that the violation of the FLSA was done willfully and intentionally. In some courts. proof that the defendants knowingly and deliberately violated the FLSA can lead to an order for the defendants to pay much more in compensation to the plaintiffs, should the court rule in favor of the plaintiffs.
Sanchez further alleges that, in July 2013, he was improperly terminated after a workplace injury that left him temporarily disabled.
The overtime class action lawsuit is seeking back pay for the unpaid overtime as well as other damages. In addition to Nature’s Grill, Dimitrios and Anastasio Vertiouris, who founded the cafe chain, are also named as defendants in the case.
The Chicago class action lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against national restaurant chains including Chipotle, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Outback Steak House, Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy’s and hotels for misclassifying employees as managers or assistant managers, forcing employees to work off the clock at business, failing to share all tips, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim these wage theft practices call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.
The Chicago class action attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Naperville and Waukegan. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Wheaton, Joliet, and Romeoville overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers misclassify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at (312) 869-4095 or through our online form.